UK Inflation Rate Fell to 3% in December
The inflation rate of Britain edged lower for the first time in six months in December, which was driven by the price of airfares and games and toys. The rate went down to 3 percent versus 3.1 percent in November, this is the fastest decline over five years. While the core measure of consumer price growth also decreased to 2.5 percent five-month low.
The British pound lost its strength on the back of the data publication and currently trades at $1.3772 as of 10:37, lower by 0.2 percent on the day. The numbers can be regarded to be the inflection point for the inflation due to impact from Sterling depreciation after the dwindling of 2016 Brexit referendum. The Bank of England along with the economists showed some projections for the possible downturn in 2018 and others predicted that the economy will be at the 2.4 percent level at the end of this year.
The drop recorded in December was mainly influenced by the technical adjustments of airfares within the inflation basket. However, the Office for National Statistics remains uncertain whether this move signaled for the beginning of a longer-term reduction in the rate. On the same month, services inflation plunged to 2.5 percent, which is the lowest in nine months.
The slackening inflation had a positive effect on households, especially those with low incomes as prices continued to rise. Economists polled by Bloomberg foresee some growth improvement in the currently weak household consumption by 2019. But, it will continue to sit below its recent average in both years. While predictions for headline inflations seems cool, but the Bank of England policymakers focused more on the changes in domestic price pressures caused by low unemployment and contraction of supplies. In November 2017, the BoE approved for an interest rate hike for the first time after 10 years and spoken about the further rate hike in the subsequent years.
According to experts, the upward pressure on inflation partially comes from the sluggish productivity growth which hit the British economy since the Great Recession. On the other hand, policymaker Silvana Tenreyro had a positive outlook during her speech on Monday. Tenreyro stated that the economy will grow in the medium term which could reverse the forecast for interest rates.